PHOTOGRAPHY

Just a few notes on woodland flower photography, whilst I am in no way any sort of expert in terms of skills or equipment they may be of some interest.
I have taken these flower photos with a now rather dated Olympus 50/60 five-mega pixel camera. This model dose however posses a good quality lens and macro focus down to 3cm. Most important of all the camera has a tilting screen. This is invaluable for avoiding laying on the ground when shooting low to the woodland floor. This feature prevents nearby plants being accidentally damaged. The tilting screen also prevents glare reflecting off the screen in sunny conditions.
This camera has full manual overrides that are essential when shooting in the very variable light conditions that are found within woodland. This camera is also compact and light. This is helpful for me when i am looking for plants, as i am often moving or even crawling through tangled woodland.

Woodland photography becomes more difficult as the season progresses. This is due at first in April and May to the variable light conditions as the tree leaf canopy expands.The closing leaf canopy creates a dappled light below. Wonderful though this light is to behold, it produces difficult conditions for photography. The combination of dark shadows and moving pools of dazzling sunlight confuse both camera and photographer.This can result in individual photographs having dark underexposed areas and bright overexposed parts burnt out of detail.

Thin cloud or hazy conditions can be helpful, the light being less harsh. Thin cloud also diffuses light allowing it to penetrate the leaf canopy from many different angles, resulting in a more even light spread reaching the woodland floor. Evening or early morning when the light is softer can often be beneficial for shooting. Later in the summer the light is at very low levels inside most woodland being restricted by the now closed leaf canopy. Shooting near the woodland edge latter in the season allows you to take advantage of the increased light levels found there.At the woodland edge light can enter under the canopy, particularly during early morning or evening when the sun is lower in the sky.

During sunny days from January to March the light is far more concussive to photography. The trees are still bare of leaves and the sun is lower in the sky providing a softer light.

I never use flash as this often produces unnatural light and alters plant colour. Flash may be of benefit when using more expensive, sophisticated cameras. Tripods are an essential tool for holding the camera still when shooting close up. This particularly applies when using long shutter speeds to capture enough light .A windless day is obviously beneficial, many plants being susceptible to the slightest breeze. Dawn and early morning are usually the stillest time of the day. If the plants are moving you can decrease the cameras shutter speed to "freeze" them Windbreaks can be used or your shirt strung up between dead branches.

Many flowers have highly reflective petals. It can be beneficial to underexpose shoots in bright conditions, perhaps adjusting them at home on the Pc. Center or center-weighted exposure settings are also helpful if your camera is so equipped to avoid overexposure. Often the only way to successfully isolate a single thin flower stalk from its jumbled woodland background is to make use of a tree trunk as a planer shooting background. The plant has to be fairly close to a suitable tree for this technique to work successfully.
Some of this web sites plants are quite tiny so macro is needed to see their full glory and feel their essence, i.e. the Butchers Broom and Enchanters Nightshade; whose blooms are only 5-6 mm across. Other flowers such as the Green Hellebore and the Nettle Leaved bellflower are large and showy at natural size.
Whilst building up some limited photographic knowledge has been valuable, the intention and enthusiasm to capture the essence of a plant while gently caressing the shutter button has been equally beneficial as technique. So just as in most other things in life it’s often been when less "trying" is used and more letting in of universal assistance that has produced the best results and unfortunately for my ego any credit.
Exactly the same as producing a range of flower essences actually!

Many of the photos can be purchased and then used as a meditation focus. Photos marked with a Pic code at bottom right of the page can be purchased. You can place them in prominent positions in your home.  This will enhance the healing qualities as you take the essence.